The Devil Is a Woman

Synopsis: Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In a café the older man details his encounters with the heart breaker that his younger friend has only just met at the parade. Forewarned, the young man swears he will avoid the fate of his friend, but rushes all the same to his evening rendezvous. A dreamlike story of frustrated, lost romance, spoken in the past tense, never really resolved.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Josef von Sternberg
Production: Paramount Pictures
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
79 min

Gentlemen, I'm going to be brief.

Tomorrow the Carnival begins.

Unfortunately, every crook

within a thousand miles...

every political offender and exile will try

to take advantage of the masquerade.

If you catch a man stealing, shoot him.

Less trouble afterwards.

But I want no useless arrests.

Last year, the gaol and the hospital

were a disgraceful sight.

I definitely do not want any interference

with the people's pleasures.

If you must make one or two arrests,

because you will not listen to me...

then make them, but no more.


[Playing lively instrumental music]

Say, where are all the pretty girls today?

Pretty girls? Watch this.

Watch this!

[Bell ringing]

Will you please give my card

to the lady of the house?

Which lady, sir?

- The lady who lives here.

- What is her name, sir?

- Look here, your mistress expects me!

- I'm sorry, sir. I'm not so informed.

- Antonio!

- Pascual!

What luck! How wonderful to see you again!

You young idiot. What if you're recognised?

Turn around. Sit down.

Turn your back.

What on earth ever tempted you

to leave Paris?

I'm on my way back there now.

I came to see my parents.

But there's a price on your head.

Don't you know we have a new governor

who eats Republicans for breakfast?

Then I'll risk it until the Carnival's over. But,

how are you, Pascual? Let me look at you.

You've changed. Have you been ill?

My health has been excellent.

I hardly knew you without your uniform.

I suppose it's another one

of your famous adventures...

Capt. Pascual Castellar,

in search of a new beauty.

I've left the army, resigned my commission.

As for the ladies, my friend, for three years

I haven't even looked at a woman.

Enough of my affairs. What of yours?

Why don't you leave while you can

with safety?

Leave? I have an appointment this evening...

with the most beautiful creature

I've ever seen.

The advice may sound strange

coming from me.

I can't ask you to ignore the gentler sex.

Had I to live my life over again...

I'd probably do the same foolish things

once more, but, be careful, Antonio.

The boys in the Club

would laugh their heads off...

if they heard you were offering moral advice

to the young.

But while you're on the subject of advice...

do you happen to know a goddess

in this town by the name of Concha Perez?

The name is not unfamiliar to me.

She lives at the end

of the Plaza del Triumfo, doesn't she?

Yes. Anything wrong with her?

You mean to tell me

you don't know who Concha is?

Concha, the singer, the toast of Spain?

Is she the toast of Spain? Well, I'm in luck!

For the last five years I've known nothing

but gaol, exile and manifestos.

Apparently you don't like her, do you?

She's the most dangerous

woman you'll ever meet.

You must be mad to talk like that!

What's she done to you?

It's no pleasure

for me to talk about the past, but...

I was returning from a holiday in France

about five years ago.

My train ran into an avalanche.

We were snowbound for about three days.

[Train whistle blowing]

[Singing lively Spanish song]

[Speaking Spanish]

- Porter!

- I don't want a porter!

How about an address, Concha,

where I can write you?

Perhaps I can find time

to visit you someday.

What do you take me for?

Come now, stop this nonsense!

Where can I get in touch with you?

Mother says no flies enter a closed mouth.

As the devil would have it...

I was in town one day with nothing to do...

and joined some fool committee or other...

that was investigating labour conditions

in a cigarette factory.

I'd heard there were some pretty girls there.

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Pierre Louÿs

Pierre Louÿs (French: [pjɛʁ]; 10 December 1870 – 6 June 1925) was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who sought to "express pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection". He was made first a Chevalier and then an Officer of the Légion d'honneur for his contributions to French literature. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Devil Is a Woman" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Nov. 2020. <>.

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